A Family That Eats Together: Sesame Noodles

July 14, 2014

Sesame NoodlesMarin Mommies presents a guest recipe from Nicole Cibellis, Marin mom and author of the blog A Family that Eats Together, where she shares meal plans and recipes that will please foodies and children alike.

Servings: 4
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Organic Ice Cream in Marin!

July 14, 2014

Noci GelatoWith summer here, it’s tim e to think about ice cream! And to make yourself feel a little bit better about eating this rich treat, why not indulge in some locally made organic ice cream? There's nothing quite like freshly made ice cream with local organic ingredients, and we have three favorite spots in Marin where you can satisfy your organic ice cream urge this summer (or at any time of year).

Fairfax Scoop at 63 Broadway in downtown Fairfax offers a rotating selection of innovative organic ice cream flavors like vanilla honey lavender, toasted hazelnut, Mexican chocolate, and controlled burn (cinnamon with crystallized ginger and red chile!), as well old favorites like strawberry and chocolate.

Explore the Mill Valley-Sausalito Bike Path

July 13, 2014

Mill Valley–Sausalito Multi-use PathMarin strives to be a bicycle-friendly place to live, so it's never to early to get your kids up on two wheels, even if it's with training wheels (which would actually make it four wheels). One of our go-to places to ride is the Mill Valley–Sausalito Multi-use Path, a 3.5-mile trail that's popular with cyclists and walkers in southern Marin.

The trail starts at Vasco Court near Edna McGuire Elementary School and travels through Mill Valley south past Camino Alto and Tamalpais High School, through Bothin Marsh Open Space Preserve, over bridges that cross creeks and sloughs, along Richardson Bay, and eventually to Gate 5 Road on the Sausalito waterfront. The trail is wide and flat and suitable for cyclists of all ages and abilities.

Along the way, you can look for birds and other wildlife in the marsh and in Richardson Bay, and take in amazing views of Mt. Tamalpais.

Panchito's Serves Up Family Friendly Mexican Fare in Terra Linda

July 12, 2014

Panchito's Terra LindaVisiting Terra Linda in northern San Rafael is a bit like stepping back in time, with plenty of mid-century Eichler ranch houses and a small shopping center that's home to some classic Marin restaurants that haven't changed for as long as I can remember. One of these that my family and I keep going back to is Panchito's, a family-run Mexican restaurant that's been serving up classic combo platters and more for over three decades.

I started going here for lunch with co-workers back when I worked in the area, and I've been coming back ever since. Panchito's opened in Terra Linda in 1979. It was taken over by current owners Leo and Jeff in 1999, who've been running it ever since. I've never been there when both of them are not there overseeing the dining rooms and making sure everything runs smoothly. They seem to know many of the customers on a first-name basis, too.

The food at Panchito's is classic Mexican-American fare, with all the usual suspects like enchiladas, burritos, tacos, fajitas, tamales, and chile rellenos. We love their extensive kids' menu (starting at $4.95), which features a variety of offerings to appeal to picky eaters and adventurous kids alike. Kids's meals all come with a small milk, juice, or soda.

Marin Family Weekend Fun for July 11, 12 & 13

July 10, 2014

Here are our picks for great events and activities for children and families this weekend. Find more events for the whole week in Marin and beyond in our Family Events Calendar.

Friday, July 11

  • Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights Day
    Angel Island State Park

    Friday & Saturday, 10 am–3 pm
    Calling all children to come to Angel Island State Park and claim their right to explore, learn, play, discover, splash, and celebrate being a kid! Enjoy 10 free activities for kids in Ayala Cove, as we fish, plant and play our way through the day. If you have a bike or fishing pole bring it along! Explore the Maritime Museum’s ship the Alma and vessels from the Traditional Small Craft Association. Connect with the past as we commemorate 150 years of California State Parks! Most appropriate for kids 5–14 years old. For information call (415) 789-1384 or visit their website.
  • Children's Garden Series: Pi Clowns
    Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco
    Friday, 11–11:30 am & 12:15–12:45 pm

    This free event is part of the Children's Garden Series at Yerba Buena Gardens in San Francisco. Nobody takes being silly as seriously as the Pi Clowns. Blending mime, theater, acrobatics, juggling, and improvisation, the Pi Clowns deliver amazing and original clown vignettes. No tickets needed. For more info, visit their website.
  • Puppet Art Theater: Shadow Paws
    Larkspur Library
    Friday, 3:30 pm

    Larkspur Library presents Shadow Paws, a shadow puppet show inspired by tales from around the world. Discover the magical world of shadow puppetry with Daniel Barash of the Shadow Puppet Workshop. Space is limited, and reservations are required. RSVP to library@cityoflarkspur.org, or (415) 927-5005. For more info, visit their website.
  • Friday Family Date Nights: Chelle! And Friends
    Bay Area Discovery Museum, Sausalito
    Friday, 5-7:30 pm

    Bring your family to enjoy later hours, live entertainment, special outdoor activities, and more. All activities and performances included with all-day Museum admission. Free admission for members. This Friday: Chelle! And Friends deliver a musically rich gumbo of New Orleans jazz, R & B and gospel, fused with Caribbean rhythms. For more info, call (415) 339-3900 or visit their website.
  • Marinwood's Music in the Park Series
    Marinwood Park, San Rafael
    Friday, 6–8 pm

    Marinwood’s most popular event is back! Enjoy Friday evenings in the park, featuring live music with the French Cassettes, delicious food by Marinwood Market, wine and beer. Cost: Entry is free; food, wine & beer may be purchased. Location: 775 Miller Creek Road, San Rafael. For more info, call (415) 479-0775 or visit their website.
  • Jazz & Blues by the Bay
    Gabrielson Park, Sausalito
    Friday, 6:30–8:30 pm

    Jazz & Blues by the Bay at Gabrielson Park in Sausalito is a free event. Lawn seating available (first-come first-served). This Friday: The Zydeco Flames, sponsored by Friends of the Sausalito Dog Park. For more info, visit their website.
  • Tam Valley's Creekside Fridays
    Tennessee Valley Cabin, Mill Valley
    Friday, 6:30–8 pm

    Bring the family, pets, chairs, and blankets to the weekly free musical event. This Friday: The Starduster Orchestra. Food available for purchase. For more info, call (415) 289-4152 or visit their website.
  • Marin Shakespeare Company: As You Like It  Preview
    Forest Meadows Amphitheater, San Rafael
    Friday & Saturday, 8 pm
    , Sunday, 4 pm
    This weekend's performances are "Pay As You Like It" previews: donations of any amount are accepted at the door. Performances take place at Forest Meadows Amphitheatre at Dominican University of California in San Rafael, 1475 Acacia Avenue (at Grand Avenue). For more info, visit their website.
  • Film Night In The Park: Despicable Me 2 (PG)
    Peacock Gap Park, San Rafael
    Friday, 8 pm

    Grab the family, blanket, pillows, low back chairs and some popcorn and enjoy an outdoor family-friendly movie at Peacock Gap in San Rafael. Arrive at 8 pm, movie begins at dusk. Donations appreciated. For more info, visit their website.

Saturday, July 12

  • Marin Country Mart Farmers Market
    Marin Country Mart, Larkspur Landing
    Saturday, 9 am–2 pm

    Enjoy pony rides and a petting zoo for the kids from 10 am–2 pm, face kids' crafts from 9 am–2 pm, children's music or storytelling from 9:30–10:30 am, and live music from 11 am–12:30 pm. For more info, visit their website.
  • Teddy Bear Festival
    San Francisco Zoo
    Saturday and Sunday, 11 am–3 pm

    Come celebrate teddy bear magic during this two-day event. Children of all ages are invited to enjoy live music by the Raytones, create take-home crafts, get their photos taken with the Berenstain Bears, and more. All activities are free with paid zoo admission. For more info, visit their website.
  • Children's Music by Tim Cain
    Stinson Beach Library
    Saturday 11:30 am–12:30 pm

    Bring the kids to a morning of music and dance. When it comes to delighting children and their parents with music and dance, children’s musician Tim Cain has no equal! Free. Location: 3521 Shoreline Highway, Stinson Beach. For more info, call (415) 868-0252 or visit their website.
  • Shrek: The Musical
    Berkeley Playhouse, Berkeley
    Saturday, 1 & 6 pm, Sunday, noon & 5 pm

    It’s the story of everyone’s favorite ogre who goes on a life-changing adventure. Joined by a wise-cracking donkey, this unlikely hero fights a fearsome dragon, rescues a feisty princess and learns that friendship and love aren’t only found in fairy tales.Cost: adults: $34–$40, children 6–12 $25–$30, children 3–5 $17–$23. For more info, visit their website.
  • 12th Annual Beatles Tribute
    Creek Park, San Anselmo
    Saturday, 6–9 pm

    The San Anselmo Arts Commission hosts their annual Beatles Night. Musical direction by Joe Bagale and the Fantastic Fabulous. Doors open at 4 pm. The event includes a live music sing-along. Tickets are available at Creek Park the day of the event. Cost: $15 adults, $5 kids 12 and under. For more info, visit their website.

Keep Cool with Frozen Watermelon Pops

July 10, 2014

When the temperature rises in the summer, we like to make these frozen watermelon pops to help beat the heat. They're easy to make, delicious, healthy (they're all fruit, after all), and fun to eat on a hot summer day.

You don't need much to make these, just the watermelon, a little sugar (if needed), and a blender or food processor. You can use other fruits to make these, too—fresh strawberries are particularly good—but the classic summer flavor of watermelon just seems to be perfect for a frozen treat like this.

The kids like to pitch in and help make these, too, although it can be hard for them to wait while the pops firm up in the freezer. Needless to say, grownups may want to take charge of the blending, for safety's sake.


  • Watermelon

Delicious Blueberry Cobbler

July 8, 2014

blueberry cobblerBlueberries are well known to be plump little nutritional powerhouses, so I find myself buying them whenever I can, especially when they're in season. The only problem is that they aren't cheap, so I usually find that I use them sparingly and doling them out a handful at a time to the kids.

When I find a great deal on them at the store or farmer's market, I try to make this blueberry cobbler. It's one of our family's favorite desserts, and it's a wonderful summer treat, especially when served warm an topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Of course you can use other summer fruits in this recipe, too: stone fruits like peaches, apricots, and nectarines and blackberries work particularly well. Try a combination—blueberries and nectarines are particularly yummy together. It's so easy to make, too, so there's no excuse not to make this at least once this summer!



  • 6 cups fresh blueberries, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Outdoor Family Fun at Marin's China Camp State Park

July 8, 2014

China Camp State Park San Rafael One of Marin's underrated treasures is China Camp State Park, located east of San Rafael. It's not as famous or flashy as other local outdoors spots like Mt. Tam, Muir Woods, or Point Reyes, but it has a charm all its own and offers plenty for families to do and see.

Situated on the shores of San Pablo Bay, China Camp State Park offers stunning views, plenty of hiking and mountain biking trails, walk-in camp sites, picnic areas, beaches, and a historic 19th-century Chinese fishing village. Topography ranges from oak woodland to grassland to salt marsh, with even some redwoods thrown in for good measure.

It's hard to believe that this park is just a stone's throw from the hustle and bustle of San Rafael. I grew up in a neighborhood just a short distance from China Camp; it was always a favorite place to visit when I was growing up, and it still remains one of my and my family's special destinations for outdoor fun and adventure. It's all a short drive from nearly anywhere in Marin County, and there's almost too much to do in one day.

Family Picnics at Marin's Cheese Factory

July 7, 2014

The Cheese FactorySummer is here, and with the warm weather and time off from school, one of our favorite family activities is to head outdoors for a fun and relaxing picnic. One of our absolute favorite Marin picnic spots is on the grounds of the Marin French Cheese Company, located just west of Novato on Point Reyes–Petaluma Road.

If you haven't been to the Cheese Factory (as it's known to locals), then you've surely seen it as you've driven out to the Point Reyes National Seashore from Novato or Petaluma. Both my husband and I grew up visiting this place, and of course now we come here with our own family. It's well worth the trip at almost any time of year. The Cheese Factory is a great first stop on the California Cheese Trail.

The Cheese Factory has been in business producing cheese from Marin's high quality milk since 1865, and is a favorite place of Bay Area residents and visitors alike. In the 19th century, the Cheese Factory originally delivered its product—a soft fresh cheese—to saloons and restaurants in San Francisco. They still make this original cheese, known today as Breakfast Cheese, which you can sample and buy in their on-site store.

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